He’s the Las Vegas of anti-gay equality
Here are the facts about the President’s record on gay rights:
- No President has hired more openly gay or lesbian Americans for high profile positions than Barack Obama.
- Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a historic achievement for equality.
- By refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, the President makes the constitutional case for gay marriage.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s positions on gay rights remain:
- He recently lost his one openly gay staffer who claimed he was “hounded” out the campaign by the religious right.
- He says he would not have ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at least until the “wars” were over.
- He opposes gay marriage and even civil unions; in Massachusetts when the state Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage should be allowed, he undermined the ruling by using a law from 1913 that prevented interracial marriages.
There are also reports that Mitt Romney helped fund the massive movement by out-of-state Mormons to pass California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.
As far as true equality for gays and lesbians goes, you can’t be worse than Mitt Romney and no President has been better than Barack Obama.
Still there are issues. Full endorsement of gay marriage, of course. Greg Sargent also points out that gay donors are upset at “President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors…” So upset that they’re withholding donations.
It seems that a full-throated endorsement of marriage equality could hurt the President as much as it might help him. In addition, it wouldn’t change much until we have a Congress that will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or a court that will reject it. Even then, we still may be waiting for the right to be won state-by-state.
As merely a friend of gay and lesbians, I have a hard time making any declarations on this issue except this: I encourage the debate now because this is going to come to a head when the Democratic National Committee has to state its position on marriage in its platform.
In 2016, this won’t even be a question, I’m sure. The trend-lines show that gay marriage is already more popular than marijuana legalization. In four years, it will be more popular than free marijuana. But this year it is controversial.
I’m tempted to see the recent “accidental” admissions of support for marriage equality as trial balloons. So this is time to stand up and come out for gay marriage. I am.
So let’s have this debate, come to some consensus that works and then unite to defeat a true enemy of equality—Mitt Romney.
[CC image by DonkeyHotey.]